May 2022 Reading Wrap Up

May was a pretty uneven month for me where reading was concerned. I read 17 books, some of which I loved, others not so much. Anyway, here are the books.

1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. (3/5)

This is a book about a young Pakistani man who moved to America, and initially completely embraced the West only to feel disillusioned by it after 9/11. Unfortunately I did not love this book like I expected though it did make some interesting commentary.

2. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (3/5)

This was another book which was good enough, but forgettable for me. It followed the life of a gay professor in midlife, and was beautifully written but ultimately forgettable for me.

3. Three Hours by Rosamund Lipton(4/5)

This was a really interesting thrilling about a school under siege. It is not an easy read (especially right now), but I thought it was really good.

4. Name Place Animal Thing’by Daribha Lyndem (5/5)

This is the coming-of-age story of a young Khasi (a tribal community in Meghalaya, in Northeastern India) girl. It deals with  issues like political violence, xenophobia, religious fundamentalism etc as well as with family, friendship, love etc. A  delightful read.

5. The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (4/5)

Set in Sri Lanka during the civil war, this follows Dinesh and Ganga, two Tamilians in a war-torn area who enter into a marriage of convenience. A heartbreaking read about the tragedy of war.

6. The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez (4.5/5)

Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, this book is a collection of really macabre, creepy short stories from Argentina. A great read!

7. The Idiot by Elif Batuman (5/5)

This is my new favourite book. It follows the life of Selin, a Turkish-American student at Harvard as she tries to figure out life, love and language. A brilliant read.

8. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (4.5/5)

I was surprised by how much I liked this book, because I really did not enjoy Normal People all that much. This is a book about messy relationships, and complicated people, and was altogether a great read.

9. At Night, all Blood is Black by David Diop (4.5/5)

This was such a gorgeous book! Set during the first world war, it follows a Senegalese soldier during the first world war, and it deals with the horrors of war, violence and racism.

10. Yakshi by Malayattoor Ramakrishnan (4.5/5)

I’ve been reading this Malayalam book for months, and I finally finished it! This follows a chemistry professional whose face gets burned due to an accident. He becomes obsessed with his appearance and how he thinks it ruins any chances he had with women, till much to his surprise, he meets a beautiful young woman who falls in love with him. However, he starts to suspect that the woman is a ‘yakshi’ (a yakshi is a supernatural creature from folklore who takes the appearance of a woman and drinks blood). An engrossing read.

11. Incantations over Water by Sharanya Manivannan (4.5/5)

This was such a gorgeous graphic novel! It is about a mermaid from Sri Lanka and creates a beautiful and intricate world of mermaids, drawing from history and mythology while also linking them to the present times. And the illustrations were simply breathtaking.

12. All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami (3.5/5)

This book follows a woman who works as a proofreader, and her relationships as she tries to make sense of life. Honestly, I usually end up liking Kawakami’s books, but not loving them, and that was the case with me as well.

13. Cultish by Amanda Montell (4/5)

This is a work of nonfiction, all about cults and how they operate. I thought it was a pretty good book.

14. Voice of America by E.C Osondu (3.5/5)

This is a collection of short stories, set mostly in Nigeria, or among Nigerian immigrants in America. As with all short story collections, this was a mixed bag, though I really liked some of the stories.

15. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (4.5/5)

This was a really cool poetry collection. It follows the perspectives of several women from history, mythology and folklore as well as the wives of prominent male characters. It was very creative and interesting.

16. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

I picked this one up, since I had read and loved The City and The City by Mieville. This was YA fantasy about an absurd, alternate London. It was an enjoyable read, and I particularly enjoyed how it played with the Chosen One trope.

17. Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes (4.5/5)

This was an extremely interesting piece of nonfiction about women in Greek myths. It talks about the one-dimensional portrayal of mythological women over the years, and examines the sources to bring out their actual nuances.

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